I'm still having trouble making friends with my radically altered attention span. As in: I don't know what in the hell I'm supposed to do/accomplish without one. And since that symbiosis has always been one of my defining characteristics I'm forcing myself to think farther out of the box. To apply lateral right brain un-logic as a way of making each day consistent within some type of ongoing theme here in the studio. I figure if I string enough seemingly disjointed actions per day into an ongoing chain I will eventually see there's been cohesion even in seed form. Such is my plan any way.
The two piles of complete and incomplete hand stitching output that I brought over from the house are guiding me closer to some new form of process. Simply by being grouped as they were at whatever time I left them in the room they give my consideration of them a structure. That means I'm currently organizing and evaluating my stitched-based creations in layers of time as well as technique. And that's allowing me to also discover themes that jump the track of their specific linear timelines.
Embroidery and I have a long and entirely happy history. About fifteen years ago I began to understand I was doing the work I did each day as an ongoing sense of forever-inadequate penance borne of very deep rooted survivor's guilt. Something so glaringly apparent also came as a shock to my self-perceptions. Once I more fully understood how profoundly guilty I felt to have survived a series of things that many people do not - I questioned the reason, wisdom and purpose of that survival. And in the absence of clear-cut answers treated myself impatiently and without due compassionate consideration for a good long number of years. Understanding this part of the healing process was non-negotiable I focused on finding ways to gentle-down at least the edges of what proved to be relatively successful sub-basement psycho-logical excavation.
As an outgrowth of finding some semblance of imbalanced-balance I started exploring the what-if of early retirement and all that implies. What else might I do with my time that was a lot gentler and mindful of the fact I had virtually nothing left to prove about what I could "take" without total collapse? I mind-mapped what that question evoked for me in the form of a colored pencil freehand mandala. I drew the mandala as if it was composed of embroidery stitches.
This activity prompted led me to explore/research contemporary embroidery classes being offered here online. I had some killer books on the subject but such is not always sufficient for those of us who need to ask questions that are answered in order to fully learn so it sticks. I chose Sharon Boggon's Creating a Personal Library of Stitches. Subsequently took a heavenly texture-oriented embroidery design class with her as well - and a studio workhorse journal that's been pivotal in how I keep track of my creative surges and burn-outs. To this day I am off-and-on obsessed with her blog and following the links she posts. The details featured in this post are from a crazy quilt block I made specifically so I could refine my understanding of certain stitches that I really came to love during her embroidery classes. In the linear timeline sense this piece is an outgrowth of the initial Library class.
I chafed against (and swiftly abandoned) the first Recipe Rule of contemporary crazy quilting: first we cover all the seam lines. The fact that I wandered off that course soon into things, and that the foundation block itself was machine sewn, means I can conceivably cut it up in ways that preserve both the hand stitching and good structural support. I can work with just parts of it arranged either vertically on birch board or more horizontally within a book. Am on the verge of thinking I may have realized at least the cutting apart option in the past but didn't have a concrete plan or spark of vision.
The other alternative I've kicked around over the years we've lived here is to simply join ALL my elaborately embellished fiber arts pieces in a continuous horizontal strip. Cut that into workable sections for our wall spaces and then rotate in different places /stored resting time as mood and situation require.
The palette and feeling tone of the piece is so relentlessly purple because it was born when my son reached an early teen phase of noticing things about me that he would sometimes speak of if he thought his observations would be helpful. And they often were. In this case he'd noticed that although I loved the color purple and often got a little delirious if we visited somebody with a purple themed flower garden he'd never seen me sew anything containing much purple. I said it was because some - in fact a lot - of people don't like purple at all. He waited until I looked up into his silence and our eyes met. We said in unison but I/you am/are not one of those people
In response I began this piece which vexes me in the disparate arrangement of darks appearing in hulking clumps and tone-deaf application of the underlying crazy/scrap quilt principle the Old Nanas of my older childhood lived by: don't pre-sort. life's more exciting that way. At the same time this working evokes a sense of love. It continues to inspires me because so many successful what-if's are involved. And I really do like how it came to exist and the memory of our son-to-mother conversation.
I will cut it apart for sure. Maybe. Perhaps just cut apart the bits I'm most drawn to working with in a different way. Hmmm. Bulletins as and when ...